A new trading platform hopes to help indies recover from pandemic

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has launched a new
platform that hopes to aid independent retailers in their pandemic

Set to launch for customers in February 2022, Neartoo will act as a
national trading platform to provide retailers with a new way of selling
online, with the goal of helping them to build their presence both locally
and nationally.

It will be exclusively available to indies and promises to operate at a
lower sales commission than its competitors. Each retailer will have its
own profile that will allow them to maintain personal relationships with
other retailers and consumers.

Its launch comes as the pandemic presented a difficult atmosphere for
independents and also falls in line with the increasing consumer trend of
shopping locally.

“The pandemic has accelerated shopping behaviours, with more use of the
internet and people also shopping more locally,” commented Bira’s CEO,
Andrew Goodacre, in a news release. “This platform, owned by independents,
addresses both of those societal changes and will allow these retailers to
open up new ways of selling to customers, and more profitably.”

Image: Bira, Neartoo

Indie’s take the reigns in online presence

Goodacre added that the new nationally-advertised platform will enable
retailers to increase their own visibility, allowing them to start selling
online and therefore not lose business to other online trading stores, such
as Amazon.

He continued: “There is such a huge gap between indies not having an online
presence and we believe they have been left behind for far too long with
big tech companies taking over. This is the answer for thousands of indie
stores across the UK to still maintain a brick and mortar presence on the
high street, while also allowing them to sell online but at a lower cost.”

According to Bira, “hundreds” of its members have already signed up to take
part in the trading platform in the few weeks that it has been made
available to businesses. Bira members can use the platform for free for 12
months, while non-members can receive five months free when they sign up.

Retailers can sync existing online sales from previous platforms or start
completely afresh, depending on their previous experience with the online

Consumers could also benefit from shopping on the platform, with offers
that include a number of delivery options as well as click and collect or
in-person collections. Built-in Google Maps will also allow customers to
easily locate the store, while the personalised profile pages further
enable a more transparent shopping experience.


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